How Many Times Can You Edit?

I finished the first major edit/revision on my novel, Ghost of a Chance. My plan is to leave it alone for a week or two and then go back and “tweak.” But the reason for this post today is that I keep wondering just how long do I hold on to this sucker before I start pushing towards publishing?

The finished manuscript.

Now, there are a few caveats with all this. I am using GoaC (hey, my day job is in higher education-we LOVE acronyms) as my final creative writing/thesis project for my graduate degree. Along with supplying a finished manuscript, this fall I’ll be writing a supplementary document outlining… well, the topic is still up for grabs. It’s either going to be about feminism and the romance novel…yawn. Or it is going to be about the writing process and my influences, which is far more exciting to me because I can talk about my favorite girl, Jane Austen. I often find myself wondering, if Jane Austen was living in our time, how would she write a romantic sex scene? But that’s a topic for another post!

But even though I’m using this novel for my thesis project, I figure that I shouldn’t just wait until that’s done to try and get it published, right? I mean, wouldn’t it be a feather in my cap if I could present my thesis next spring and be able to say, Oh yeah, and by the way, I got a book deal? A girl can dream, right? So, all of this is just a long way of getting back to the title of this post, “How Many Times Can You Edit?” Let me tell you, it is damned difficult to let go of something you’ve been working on for a year. You (and by you, I mean me) find yourself wondering if there isn’t just one more thing you should change or add or more importantly delete. I swear that I could just fuss and mess with it until the end of time. It reminds of when I worked in a cinema and television department at a college. I remember talking to professors who taught beginning film classes and how they said young filmmakers sometimes spent so much time “editing” that that they destroyed the nugget of a great story. I don’t want to be that person!

In the next few weeks I promise to give GoaC one more go on minor edits and then I’m passing it on to my thesis committee. Then I think I’ll get rolling on writing a synopsis, which will mean that I’ll more than likely come back here and tell you what a pain in the ass that is! But it’s a necessary evil in the publishing process. Trying to distill a 77,000+ word novel into a one page synopsis. Keep me in your thoughts.

In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy, and most important read a book!

4 thoughts on “How Many Times Can You Edit?

  1. I wasn’t sure if I’m reading this correctly. Are you currently looking for a publisher? Would you like to talk with someone who has successfully published? I know someone who has published children’s and teens books who might be willing to share what she knows.

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  2. Oh, good, Brian! I thought of her too. Excellent! We’re sharing a mind! Also might be helpful for Nikki to hear about Amy and Phil’s Jane Austen experience. Lots to talk about.

    Nikki, in keeping with what the film professor shared about over editing, a writer I like says something similar – that it’s possible (and undesirable, of course) to “edit the life out of” your work. But I like your idea of leaving it for a time and coming back with fresh eyes.

    Good luck! Can’t wait to read your novel.

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